Dr Clare O’Leary unveils the statue. Pic: Denis Boyle

THE first Irish woman to trek to the South Pole, Dr Clare O’Leary from Bandon, unveiled the memorial sculpture to Patrick Keohane, a member of the Scott Antarctic Expedition 100 years ago, before a large gathering at Lislee Court near Courtmacsherry on Sunday.

 

 

The magnificent life-sized bronze statue of the “forgotten hero” of Irish polar exploration was by sculptor Don Cronin from Knockroe, Bandon.

 

Special guests included Michael Smith, author of the book Great Endeavour about Irish Antarctic explorers and many descendants and relatives of Keohane, including his grandson Patrick Madigan and granddaughter Mary Underwood who travelled over from Devon where the Barryroe native resided for many years until his death in 1950.

 

 

A song specially composed for the historic event was performed by Michael O’Brien. Tributes were paid to the voluntary Patrick Keohane Memorial Sculpture committee and thanks expressed to West Cork Development Partnership for its grant aid and others who have donated to and supported the project in various ways.

 

 

The sculpture, which is now an attraction along the popular Seven Heads Walk, is located between Broadstrand and Blind Strand, Barry’s Point, close to Keohane’s birthplace in 1879.